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Weekly China Brand Protection News – June 13, 2024


Weekly China Brand Protection News

June 13, 2024

1. RMB 8 million in damages against infringers of the “Martian in Chinese” mark that is recognized as well-known

Recently, the Guangdong High Court made a second-instance judgment on the trademark infringement and unfair competition dispute case between Martian Kitchenware Co., Ltd. (“Martian”) and Zhongshan Jiamei Electric Technology Co., Ltd. (“Jiamei”), an individual Zhou, Guangzhou Shuaifeng Kitchen Appliance Co., Ltd. (“Shuaifeng”), Shenzhen Leman Kitchen Appliance Co., Ltd. (“Shenzhen Huoxingren”), and Beijing Siyuan Bio Technology Development Co., Ltd. (“Siyuan”). The court found that the defendants’ acts constitute trademark infringement and were ordered to immediately stop infringing on Martian’s Cited Marks. Zhou, Shuaifeng, Shenzhen Huoxingren, and Siyuan were ordered to compensate Martian a total of RMB 8 million (USD1.10 million), and Jiamei shall bear joint and several liability for compensation within RMB 5 million (USD689,000).

Cited Marks

Disputed Marks

The court found that first, since 2015, Martian’s “Martian in Chinese” mark has been recognized as a famous brand product in Zhejiang Province and a famous trademark in Zhejiang Province. From revenue to profits, advertising investment, honorary awards, various media reports, etc., it reflects the popularity and influence of the “Martian in Chinese” mark on integrated stove among consumers, which is enough to prove that when the “Martian Pioneer in Chinese” mark was filed, the “Martian in Chinese” mark had reached a well-known status in kitchen appliances, especially integrated stoves.

Second, the defendants argued that the “Martian Pioneer in Chinese” was a registered trademark and did not constitute infringement. The court held that, based on good faith and business morals, even if the defendants use a registered mark, considering well-known mark status provide better, stronger, and wider protection scope, the court can determine whether to recognize the Cited mark as well-known based on the circumstance of this case. The court found that it is necessary to recognize the Cited Mark as well-known mark in order to stop the defendants’ infringement activities.

Third, the “Martian Pioneer in Chinese” mark and the distinctive part of other “Martian Pioneer in Chinese” marks constitute a copy of the well-known trademark “Martian in Chinese.” Moreover, when comparing the disputed mark with the Martian’s Cited Marks, it contains an “M” figure with a circular background that is similar to Martian’s trademark and completely contains Martian’s trademark. The use of the disputed marks constitutes trademark infringement.

2. Unauthorized modified Casio watch constitutes trademark infringement

Recently, the Liaoning High Court concluded a second-instance trademark infringement and unfair competition dispute between CASIO Computer Co., Ltd. (“Casio”) and an individual Chen and an individual Han. The court found that Chen and Han infringed Casio’s trademark rights and ordered them to immediately stop their infringement of Casio’s Cited Marks and compensate or economic losses and reasonable expenses of RMB 600,000 (USD82,800).


Cited Marks

The court found that: First, Chen and Han sold non-original watch cases and watch straps (including watch buckles), as well as finished watches modified with non-original watch cases and watch straps (including watch buckles). However, when it promoted, offered to sell, and sold the allegedly infringing goods on platforms such as WeChat Moments, Bilibili, Little Red Book, Dewu, Xianyu, and online stores, it did not clearly inform the relevant consumers of the fact that the accessories used for modification were not original nor authentic.

Second, Chen and Han directly stated in some product names such as “Casio G-SHOCK Black Gold GA110/700/400/5600/GMA Ice Tough Glacier Transparent Case Strap,” which did not contain the word “modification.” In the “Purchase Instructions” of some product sales pages, it clearly stated that “Our store is all original and authentic,” and pasted a label with the words “Steady G-SHOCK” on the back of the finished watches sold. Even some of the accessories sold (including the modified finished watch accessories) directly carried the trademark in question, misleading the relevant public regarding the source of the products. Chen and Han’s acts constitute trademark infringement.

Third, Chen and Han promoted, offered to sell, and sold Casio high-end products that are modified from low-end Casio models, or modified Casio product styles into third-party product styles, or attached third-party logos, which damaged the goodwill of Casio’s cited marks. These acts constituted trademark infringement.

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